The Connected Mom

According to the statistics, anxiety and fear are at an all-time high, and many of our kids are struggling! Our guest, Michelle Nietert, is with Becky and Sarah to discuss ways that we can help our kids through fear (and sometimes that means handling our own fear, first). Strong, practical insights on helping your child through fear.

Michelle Nietert has been a licensed professional counselor for over 25 years and the coauthor of the award-winning book Loved and Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls and Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life and soon to be released God I Feel Sad: Bringing Big Emotions to a Bigger God series.

She leads of team of counselors as the clinical director of Community Counseling Associates in the Dallas, Texas area. A popular speaker on topics regarding mental health, faith, and parenting, she is a frequent guest on national television and podcasts, including her own “Raising Mentally Healthy Kids.”

She and her husband Drew have been married almost two decades and have two school-aged children.

Connect with Michelle at


BUY HER BOOK: God, I Feel Scared

Creators & Guests

Becky Harling
Author of How to Listen So Your Kids Will talk and several others. Podcast host of The Connected Mom. A dynamic speaker who is passionate about Jesus.
Your Mental Health Coach
Counselor 25 years, Keynote Speaker, Author Make Up Your Mind, Loved and Cherished, Raising Mentally Healthy Kids Podcast, God 💕Wife, Tween / Teen Mom #kidmin

What is The Connected Mom?

Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.

According to statistics, anxiety and fear are at an all time high
BECKY: Welcome to The Connected Mom podcast, where we have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. So I'm Becky Harling, your host. And I have with me today my amazing Sarah Wildman. Hey, Sarah.
SARAH: Hello. Hello. It's so good to be on the connected mom today. So, Becky, I'm not a Bible scholar, but I happen to know that in Scripture, god says fear not a lot. And I think that might be a little clue to our subject today. Fear is as old as time, but it kind of, presents itself a little differently in modern times. And we know that it impacts our families, it impacts Moms, and it impacts our kids. Right?
BECKY: That's exactly right, Sarah. And according to the statistics, anxiety and fear are at an all time high, and our kids are struggling with that. I know here in Colorado, I assume it's true in other states as well. But now they're starting all the days in the classes, and every elementary school does the same thing. What's your good thing today? Because they're trying to get kids to think a little more positively. And I feel for these kiddos because they hear the news, they hear about school shootings, they hear about all different kinds of things. And so fear is on the rise. Our guest today is amazing. We had her on last season, and we loved her so much, we asked her to come back. So it's Michelle Neetert. And Michelle is a licensed professional counselor. She is the mother of two. She's married, over 20 years, I guess, now. Right, Michelle?
MICHELLE: That's right. We made it.
BECKY: She is the author of six books with the 7th in the Hopper, and she is just a great person to talk to about this whole topic of fear and our kiddos. And so, Michelle, welcome.
MICHELLE: hi. Thanks for having me. Becky, I do think what you're saying is so true. I do think it's interesting that Scripture does say in fact, I had the number at one time. It's a lot how much it says, fear not. But maybe we should start there because I think sometimes Christians feel guilty if they're experiencing some fear or worry or anxiety. I don't think God was saying, like, you shouldn't have this. This is a sin. I think he was saying, hey, you're going to experience this. But when you do, here's how to fight it, to know that I'm for you. I'm fighting battles for you. I'm with you. jesus calms the storm both on the outside and sometimes on the inside of us. So I think that's really important because I think the reason that this book series, bringing Big Emotions to a Bigger God started for me is because if we feel like we shouldn't have something, sometimes we hide from God with that. And I wanted to make sure kids didn't hide their fears from God, but took, their fears to God.
BECKY: I love that so much, Michelle. And I love that you started with that, because I think the last thing our kids need is shame over what they're feeling. And yet, I think a lot of times, parents aren't sure how to deal with their kids feelings. And so you have this brand new book, God, I Feel Scared, and I love it.
The title of the book is God helps children face their fears
BECKY: So, first of all, let's start by having you tell us a little bit about the book.
MICHELLE: Well, it is a children's book. It's really pretty. our illustrator is amazing. His name is Nomar Perez. He was born in Puerto Rico. He lives here in the United States. And my co author, Tama, fortner is such a wordsmith. She has written 60 books, which just blows my mind and, just really excellent at communicating the messages that I wanted in this book. I just have seen the country change with kids and their parents and their struggles with anxiety, especially. And we know anxiety comes from fear. And although, as you mentioned, Becky, that Scripture talks about fear not, I don't think it means that we're not to ever experience fear. Because, first of all, there are types of healthy fear. Fear can create adrenaline that can bring you safety. I was taught to trust my fear when I was in college. There was a rapist on the loose. Then we were told to kind of watch where we were and things like that. So I think it's important we instill in our children a, respect for fear. Fear can help you hyper focus. As a crisis counselor, when my adrenaline would get going, whether there was a really difficult safety issue in the school, or whether it was just a kid who was like, I had a kid self harm in a bathroom once, my fear of them dying helped me stay calm and regulate myself. And we're going to talk about how to do that because I know some of you are like, I would not be calm in that situation. And I think that can be true. But I think, first of all, when Scripture says to fear not, that doesn't mean we don't experience fear. That means that as we experience fear, we know we can allow it to leave when we're having irrational fears or typical human fears when we're not including God in the picture. And that's the reason the title is God. I feel scared because I feel like sometimes when we're embarrassed about what we're feeling, we hide that from God, especially if we think about these scriptures. But what I wanted to encourage kids to do, instead of turning away from God with their fear, was turn towards Him with their fear and to allow him to help them conquer their fear.
BECKY: I love that so much, Michelle. I think that's really important because I know so many kids are growing up and then on top of their fear, they've got guilt because they feel know or anxious. And then you've got parents trying to fix their fears so it can turn into a, really messy situation. Because we can't fix our kids fears, can we?
MICHELLE: We can't. But here's what I think we can do. We can first recognize that they're real to them. And that's really important because sometimes we want to minimize or dismiss fears because our adult brains understand fear differently. So I think even with a young child, to say, yeah, that could look scary in your room, or, yeah, I remember the first time I spoke in front of a large group of people. That was difficult. I did wonder what they were thinking about me just trying to relate with them, because then they feel like you understand. And that helps so much because then they're more interested in what you have to say. Because just like we all relate, when somebody tells us a story about a struggle that we've had, we want to hear about that. And it helps our kids become curious. In fact, I a lot of times will ask my kids, do you want to hear what I did when that happened to me? and sometimes I'll tell them I didn't handle it very well. And I'll tell them, but then I learned another way to handle it, and you have to keep this short, depending on the age of the kid. But this was really important to me that, first of all, that parents were reading a book like, God, I feel scared with their kids. So they were kind of telling their kids, hey, if you feel scared, you can come to me with that. You don't have to hide that from me. I'm not fragile. I say all the time to my kids, there's nothing that you're going to face that you and I and God can't handle together. And I think kids need to hear that more than ever. And also that they know that their parents are going to help them with their fears, but also empower them to face their fears themselves. So it's really important that a lot of the literature out there, especially in the Christian world, is like, go away in Jesus name. Or if you pray and say the Scripture, you should feel better. But what if they don't? We want to give them permission to then say, I'm still struggling. And then we can add, just like we do in our counseling offices, some additional tools in the toolbox for these kids to help them with their fear. Because if they don't, it just loops and grows bigger and bigger. But what happens, a lot we see is as they grow older, they keep it from their parents until it's affected them physically to the point they can't hide it.
SARAH: Sure. Sure. Michelle, I was thinking about how I love that we're not shaming our kids for having those feelings. But sometimes kids don't realize how fear is manifesting in their behavior, right? And as the grown up, you kind of have to look at their behaviors because we know they may be feeling fear, but maybe it's a temper tantrum or something like that where they're acting out. What are some things that you would say actually might be more fear motivated in behavior, perhaps with, like, small children? How does that look for moms?
MICHELLE: I was just speaking to a group of mothers and preschoolers, and we were talking about that is sometimes a meltdown is because they're overwhelmed, and overwhelm is a component of that fear by noise, loud noise, scratchy shirts, too much chaos in a big school, unfortunately. I'm so disappointed that our culture has decided to save money and build better competitions. And so in doing so, we've lost that small school community that kids feel safer in and more connected to. And so sometimes kids a, lot of parents will say, well, they seem fine at school. Well, first of all, I want you to think about when you were in middle school. Would you expose a wound and take off all your bandages in middle school and run around a group of 100 people with all that risk of germs and bacteria? No. The same is true as an emotional wound. They're not going to open that up in front of their peers. So a lot of times, they keep that bandage on, and even though it's bleeding through the bandage with their struggle, they'll keep their game face on, their mask on, and then when they get in the car, yes, Mama, you will be the one they fall apart to. But that is what you want.
Parents can help their kids experience calm by staying calm when they're upset
MICHELLE: You want to do that because were you all ever taught in youth group, like, the whole idea? There were these themes when I was in youth group that God is the power source. It kind of comes from John 15 that we want to plug into God. It says, he's the vine, we're the branches. We kind of plug into him. Have you ever heard anything like that? Yeah. Oh, yeah.
SARAH: It was a mural on one of our church.
MICHELLE: Those were I remember those themes from, like, VBS and then Disciple now when I was a so. And if you're not familiar with that in the church world, that's fine. But there is this idea that we want to plug into God as a power source. Well, I think we as parents, in order to co regulate, which means to help our kids experience calm. First of all, when your kid is upset, the thing that you want to do is to help ground them. And the way you do that is by staying calm yourself. Sometimes. That's a hard struggle for us. I know I spent more time in the mommy time out room than my kid spent on a calm down step, because I have a lot of emotions and false ideas about what kids should do, especially at certain ages. That's why a lot of times, especially with dads, when they come in our counseling offices, we teach them a lot of like they'll be upset because the three year old's running all over my office for after 15 minutes. They can only sit still for about 15. They're going to run for the next 30. It's not realistic to expect a three year old to sit on a couch for 45 minutes. So we had to talk a lot about development with them. And I really encourage parents to look at that and remind themselves of that, because brains don't fully develop till 26, 28. If you're dealing with a three year old, you have very little brain there that has the ability to regulate and self control. But I think what we can be is we can be extension cords of God's power to our kids. So we turn to Him, he calms us, and we have to learn that first how to do that, maybe in our marriage, maybe in our job. And then, with our kids, we're able to do that. So while they're like, I want it, I just want it, then we're the ones who are like, I hear that you want it, but let's think of some other things you could want right now instead. Or, let's take a deep breath together and let's breathe in God's love and out this frustration that you have right now. So we're not only validating the feeling, we're giving them an emotional vocabulary expansion from going from scared to frustrated. And so breathing in and out and helping them reset their brains a little.
There are a lot of reasons for kids to feel fearful, right
BECKY: So I'm thinking about this, and there are a lot of reasons for kids to feel fearful, right? And we want to encourage them to not live bound by fear. But there's a balance. Like you on the college campus, you learned to trust your fears so that you wouldn't be exposed. And with kids, little kids, I'm thinking we teach them stranger danger. Some of them never get that. I mean, we had one daughter that never got the stranger danger thing because everybody was her friend. so how do parents help kids know? Trust your fear now. Okay? Now let's work through your fear and move more towards courage. What's the balance there?
MICHELLE: I think that's one part of it is courage exists even in the midst of fear. So if I'm in the parking lot and I'm scared, I'm going to have the courage to find my keys quickly, to get in the car, to lock the door, to do those things, and that's getting out of that. The part of the brain all this is happening in is the amygdala, and it's where fight, flight freeze. But there's also something now called fawn, where to shut down somebody angry in your life. You'll just please, you'll do whatever they want. And that works for a while. Sometimes kids outgrow that parents, will tell me in the teenage years, like, they were so compliant. And I thought, how angry were you? Because maybe or how fearful were they of your anger? Because if they feared your anger, they may have been compliant. As they get bigger and braver, sometimes they're a little less fearful of that, and that's why their voice will be more heard. At that point, they really weren't compliant because they wanted to be. They were compliant out of fear. I want my kids. And this was new for me. I grew up in a home, and my dad passed away, and he really gave me the freedom to talk about this. His anger was out of control a lot, and I didn't know if I was meeting, even though he was, like, an elder in the church, worked for MAF as a head of pastoral development. He was a very godly man, but he had a real struggle with anger. And I didn't know when he walked in the door if I was having Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde to the point that by the time I was in middle school, he loved the idea of me working. So I babysat or worked outside the home or did choir or tennis. I mean, I had a full ride to college. I had so many extracurricular activities. My motivation wasn't really to be amazing. My motivation was not to be in the home, because I didn't want to poke the bear and I didn't want to experience the bear a lot. And we healed a lot as I aged, and he aged. But if you grew up like that as an adult, first of all, your amygdala is more easily triggered. So it's harder for you when your child is angry to not respond in anger, because you experience that. And so it takes a lot of emotional regulation, breathing, talking to yourself, saying things. Sometimes like, he's three, he shouldn't be able to put his shoes on himself. He's going to get frustrated, I'm going to need to go help him. And sometimes I'd say those things, out loud, like, I know you're small and I shouldn't expect you to do it right, and you should need my help. But I keep hearing in my head, why can't you just do it? And that's not good. That's my problem. And I think that's really important, too, because a lot of times I just heard a parent the other day say, you're making me so angry. Your children can't make you angry.
BECKY: Amen.
MICHELLE: And so when our kids are scared, if we're getting angry, that has to do with our unrealistic expectations of our kids or our own childhood being triggered. A lot of times there or our own fear or our own regret over something. And so now our child can misbehave, and we cannot like that. But we own our emotions and we want our kids to own their emotions too. M and that's something you'll teach them because they'll say to me, you're making me so mad. No, you're mad because you have to go to bed. And that upsets you because you'd like to stay up. And so sometimes you have to like there's a little book called I don't like the Sound of no. And so sometimes we have to learn to accept no.
Why do you think sometimes kids don't want to go to bed
MICHELLE: Let me tell you why this plays into scared. Why do you think sometimes kids don't want to go to bed? Because they don't want to be alone in a room by themselves, especially as they age. We're so good when they're babies. We rock them, we pray with them, we sing with them, we read books to them. And when they're preschoolers, we tend to do that. We rub their backs because we want them to stay in the bed and not come in ours. And then we get into this stage where we're in the driving stage and they're out late, we're exhausted, they're exhausted. And we're like, just go to bed. And they're like that is when we need to check in on these kids the most. This is when a lot of the disorders start to develop because they're in their rooms for the first time, processing their entire day, and they're by themselves. And I think it's a time where self doubt can creep in. fear of rejection from other people can creep in. These milestones that the teenagers hit that even start as young as eight and nine, feeling like they're not doing well enough in school, can creep in, all of that stuff. And when we fail, sometimes we're seeing this especially in boys. If you look at I was listening, oh, they're raising boys and girls. Dave Thomas was talking about that. This group of boys in this culture is taking less risk than we've ever seen males take before. And a lot of that has to do with the fear of failure. And so it's so important we help our kids learn to conquer their fears with God's help. And we involve God in this process as parents. And I think as we talk about that and as we help them feel it in their body and let it go, it'll help them because they're storing a lot of this energy in their body and it's fear.
SARAH: M yeah, that's right.
Michelle, in your work, you've studied the nervous system
SARAH: Michelle, in your work, I know that you've studied the nervous system. Like there's a biological response, right? I mean, I think some people, when you say public speaking, you feel a certain way. I mean, your throat gets dry, you start shaking. What's going on with the nervous system? and what are maybe some tips, given that this is a biological response.
MICHELLE: To yeah, and that's so important. I think a great counseling center and a great church approaches struggles from a biosocial, psychological, spiritual model. And so we look at what is the mind thinking. We look at what is the body doing, who's supporting this person and how do they live in community, who's safe for them. And then also the spiritual side of do they have a connection with God? Do they have something greater than them to trust in that gives them hope? But going to that biological side, I've been doing a lot of research on polyvagal theory, and all of us have a window of tolerance. And here's the thing. Some of our windows are bigger than others, just the way we're made. And then if we've experienced trauma, sometimes our windows are smaller because of that. And so what happens when we get outside of a window of tolerance? What we can tolerate? Some of us can tolerate more noise than other people. I can tolerate more noise than my kids. They don't even like it when I chew loud. I mean, it's kind of crazy in our house sometimes. And some of you may relate to that. That's actually a diagnosis that is growing in our culture called mesophonia. And it's like they go into a fight flight or fight stage over hearing like smacking or some type of noise, that repetitive noise that irritates them. And all of us can do that. If I sat here and went too long, somebody's going to get a little irritated with it, probably, right? And that's so interesting to me to see. But it's helping us learn to calm our nervous system down. I gave you one great way, which we don't do well in our culture, and that's belly breathing. And in the God, I feel scared. Audiobook I actually have some exercises where we teach kids to breathe in. One, two, three and out. One, two, three. And in the parent talk, I talk to parents about maybe if you got a little one, lay a stuffed animal or, a book on their belly and see if they can move it. See if you can move it. See if you get enough air to move yours because it's got to go through your heart all the way to there. There are some really inexpensive HeartMath., has a biofeedback monitor that will let you see if you're getting that air. And that regulation in you can even be more simple. Our family therapist, John Gottman, if your heart rate gets above a certain level, you don't talk until you calm yourself down. My husband's like, let's do that at our house because he likes quiet. All about that. Ah, everybody would be calm when they talk. But, I think it's important that we do reset our nervous system. So I'm going to give you some quick ways to do it. One is change your body temperature. Okay? So, for example, I taught preschool teachers. If it's hot outside and a kid is really anxious, you might go run their hands under cold water. If it's an adult, I would say splash cold water on your face unless you're made up and your makeup is going to run. But with little kids, you might need a towel if you have a room full of preschoolers and you let them all splash cold water on their face, right? So you have to kind of adapt to the situation you're in. But I have that as an accommodation for kids who have anxiety, is that they can leave the classroom and go to the bathroom. And what I teach them to do is to go, if they're freezing in their room, run warm water under their hands. And if they're cold in their room, run cold water under their hands. I have even had, weighted things help. I had a little kid who carried around a weighted snake and that kind of grounded them when they were feeling uneasy. for some people it feels like they're suffocating them and that's why everybody's nervous system responds to things differently. I responded to heat amazingly well until I hit my early fifty s and all of a sudden heat doesn't feel as good to me as it used to. I hear that. I think there's a biological reason for that one. This is a trick I even teach preschool teachers. Their little fingers can't get through a fan. You can blow a fan on yourself and as long as we don't have any seizure risk to it, that will help a lot.
Blowing a fan on you can help calm down anxious people
MICHELLE: Just calm you down. And so with the preschool teachers, I tell them blow them at their chest because it'll still cool them down. Because if you blow at the face, it can trigger there's a little bit of risk there for some people. But blowing a fan on you can be helpful to you. something else you could do is like, this is so funny, but my daughter really loves this one. You take like a pen and I hear this is trending on Instagram reels right now. I probably need to make one. You look at the writing on the pen and then you look far away and then you look at the writing on the pen and then you look far away. And what you're doing when you're doing that is you're resetting your optic nerve. You're relaxing your optic nerve, which is your eyes. The vagus nerve is right there attached. So it's kind of a way to distract somebody with a lot of emotion too, to do that. My daughter tried it the other day. She's like, oh, it does kind of feel good. She was kind of overwhelmed by her schoolwork and she was making chicken nuggets and I was like, hey, let me show you that. They always roll their eyes or laugh or sometimes they're like, oh yeah, I'll try it. Having a mom as a therapist is an interesting I'm sure they could write a book on that. So she tried it and she actually liked that one, taking a walk, because that creates bilateral stimulation, which is part of EMDR, which is a trauma treatment we use in our offices. I teach kids to butterfly tap. You hug yourself like this, and you tap your shoulder, every other shoulder. And that can be really helpful, too, is to do a little butterfly tap. And it just helps your brain kind of reset itself as well. you can tap on your knees. Some kids don't like to cross their hands, but actually, there's some help with crossing your hands. It does something to your brain, too. I taught a group of kids, and they loved it. It was really funny, to wake their brain up, because sometimes we can get frustrated. This kid was, like, in school, and they had to do a writing assignment, and they were really starting to panic because they just couldn't get their brain to wake up and think of anything. Well, we have hundreds of nerves in our ears, so if you squeeze your ears, do it. You all do it with me. Come on. Even though you got big earrings on, some of you squeeze like it wakes your brain up. It stimulates your brain to be squeezing. Like, there isn't that interesting? That is interesting, especially if you have a kid who needs a little stimulation. They're wiggly and stuff like that that can help them. So those are some simple ways. If you ever were young and you started to hyperventilate, what did the nurse ask you to do? Put your head right where between your knees?
BECKY: Yeah.
MICHELLE: You know why? That had nothing to do with them going between your knees. If your head goes below your heart, it calms your vagus nerve. It calms your nervous system down. A lot of kids will do feet. like, if they're studying, I'll tell them, take a break and put your feet up the wall. And that way, your head is below your heart when you put your feet up the wall. And that makes them feel good. I show them some other different poses where they can. But even just putting your head down and touching your toes can help calm that nervous system down if you do it. It's really funny when I'm speaking publicly, I'll do it. And I'll have the group of preschool teachers, if I'm speaking to them, or public educators or church parents, stand up and do it. And they're like, I'm like, Think about something that makes you really mad. Don't hit your spouse. Just think about something that makes you really mad. And then I want you to put your head below your knees. And, they're like it's almost like you can't even think about it. Like, that blood's rushing to your head. It changes your whole brain chemistry in that moment. So we're learning some things we can do, and I don't think it's ungodly to do that. In fact, I think. We can also infuse some faith into this because as a Christian counselor, I'm always looking, how do we integrate this? Right? So what if I'm washing my hands and I'm praying, lord, help me just shake this off. Will you wash away my fear or my frustration? You have washed away the sins of people by Jesus'blood. You have washed away a lot of things in the past. Can you wash this away from me? And so I think we can add some components like that too. Lord as I'm tapping Lord, remind me of your truth Remind me that just like I'm hugging myself, you're here with me. and you're here to empower me to get through this. And maybe I can't do it by myself, but with Your help, I can. So I think we can integrate prayer into that. I think we can integrate scripture memory into that as well. I had one kid memorize, god has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. The new King James is my favorite version of that. It's in God, I feel scared. And I've had them tap it all the time when they did it. So now when they go to school, I had them tap their knees. So then if they're in school and they're taking a test and they're nervous, they can tap their knees. That scripture is going to come in their head whether they like it or not, because they have trained their brain to think of the scripture. And the cue will be the knee tapping.
BECKY: I love that so much, Michelle, because that is really practical.
What do parents do when their child is afraid of new things
BECKY: So as you think about kids, like, okay, maybe they're afraid to try a new sport, or maybe they're afraid to. We had one granddaughter who was really afraid of swimming this summer. She made progress. So what does a parent do in the moment when, their kid is terrified to try the new thing? Whatever the new thing is, what do you do then?
MICHELLE: I think there's a lot of things you can do. What we would do with them. And I actually did an imagery exercise of giving your fear to God in the God I Feel Scared audiobook. But what we can imagine is we can think about doing what we're scared of before we do it. We do that in a lot in our office with kids. And we help them breathe and we help them take a break and remind them that they're safe. We make sure they feel safe with us sometimes. We help them think of a safe place to go in their head. And then if they get too scared about thinking about speaking in front of people, we go back to the beach in their head and then we come back to this. I even have these interesting things called touch points that you can hold. And they're like EMDR tappers and kids can hold them. You can buy them online. I can give you all a link for them and then they can think about that safe place with them. And sometimes we'll hold the tappers, which are comforting to them, m kind of relaxes their body because they're vibrating. And we'll think about maybe talking in front of a group of people and then we'll face their fears. What are you scared of? Well, they won't like what I have to say. And sometimes I surprise them. sometimes I'm like, yeah, I could see how you feel that way. And then sometimes I'll say, but who cares? How many of them do you really care what they think of you? And they're like, Well, I think half the room is not very they're not great at this either. I'm like, okay, so let's take out half the room. And so we'll try to find a way to minimize it. It's called scaffolding if you're doing, like, work with OCD or it's just exposure therapy. If I had a kid who was swimming I did this with a kid last summer. We had a little mascot in our house who was three. And she has been taking swimming lessons where she's learning to swim, float, swim. And she doesn't love that idea all the time. And I wanted her to come swim with me, because my kids learn that process. It's a great way to protect kids from drowning. And I had treated some women whose children had drowned, which is a horrible, thing to walk through with someone. so, we started with, okay, let's just put on our bathing suit. She's like, I don't want to swim. I don't want to swim. Well, let's not worry about swimming right now. Let's just worry about putting on our bathing suit. How do you feel putting on your bathing suit? Oh, I like this bathing suit. I mean, this is a three year old, right? I like this bathing suit. It's pink. It's my favorite. You have it because it's only at my house. Okay, well, let's get your bathing suit on. Okay, well, I don't want to go swimming. Okay, well, I really want to get in the water. Do you think maybe if I get in the water, you could sit on the step and put your toes in the water? It might feel good. It's kind of hot outside. Yeah, I might like that. And so then I'm kind of helping again. I'm using that nervous system, right? Feel how cold the water feels. Does the water feel good? Why don't you tap in the water? So I had her, like, tap her feet in the water a little bit, and then I was like, what if we go down a step? I don't want to swim. I don't want to swim. Okay, what if we just come down a step? And what if I get close to you? So, you know, and this is really important parents if you do this and you're their safe person. I know some of you learn to swim by your parent walking away. Do not do that to your children because they will wonder if you're going to walk away on them when it matters. So don't teach them the lesson that way. It's not worth it. If you're the safety and you're that grounding source, you be that source. There are better ways to do it. So then you do come up to the step. And then I said, how about I just hold you? And she's like, oh, I like that. you've done that with me before. I like that. So then I held her. And then I said, now do you feel like you're safe with me? And she said, yeah. And I'm Aunt Shell to her. So she's a friend of mine's granddaughter. So I said to her, do you think Aunt Shell would ever let anything happen to you? No, I don't. I said, OK, well, then could Aunt Shell maybe just like I'm holding you now, could I hold you floating on your back? And I will not move my hands, I promise. So we did that.
You start with a baby step. Ask a swim teacher. And this is how you do it with little kids
MICHELLE: And then I held her again. And this is how you do it. Ask a swim teacher. This is how you do it with little kids. And so guys, we need that sometimes too. I didn't write a book as the first thing I ever did. I think I wrote a devotional or a blog. You start with a baby step.
My daughter was terrified of performing on stage, so we reframed the experience
MICHELLE: In fact, a lot of times my daughter was scared. My daughter who's done 50 musicals when she was three, they realized she had a good voice and they wanted her to sing the Christmas special. And she was terrified. She's like she's the girl who ran off the stage to me. Like when they tell you to hide so they don't see you in preschool. Ran straight off the stage to me. So they are laughing at me. I mean, the preschool teachers are watching this. It is after preschool. And I've got some, blow up guitars and some fake sunglasses. And I've got her on the stage. And I'm just getting her comfortable with being on a stage with no one in the room. And I kind of told them I'm going to do this because they really wanted her to sing. And I didn't want her to be scared of a stage. I think I overdid it. Maybe she leads worship now a very large church online. You can go watch her on, you know, I mean it's but so she played with the guitars and then her friend M, one of the teachers sons, was there. So I got Gus to come up and play with her too. And distraction is a way sometimes we can self regulate for a while. And then after a while, I was like, is the stage scary? And she goes, no. And I said, well, what makes the stage scary? Well, people are out there, so I got some of the teachers to, come, into the area. And I'm like, Is it scary now? And she's like, well, it's not that scary now. And I'm like, Gus is here, and he's got a guitar. It's kind of fun. So we reframed that experience for her. And she did great that Christmas on this day. She really did.
BECKY: I love that so much.
Michelle: God, I Feel Scared is a great book for parents
BECKY: Michelle, we actually are out of time. I can't believe how time that it went so quickly. But you know what I would love for you to do? first, I want to remind our listeners the name of the book is God, I Feel Scared. And you need to buy it because it's a great book to go through with your kiddos. And with the amount of fear we're hearing about. This is a great opener to help you deal with this with your kids, and it's a great little book. And then, Michelle, would you pray for the moms out there and close us out in you know, we know that, okay, the kids are afraid, but a lot of moms are afraid, so would you just pray for them? And then I'll close out our time together.
MICHELLE: Father, you tell us to trust you with our fears, and while we do, we still feel them in our bodies. Father, help us learn to manage our emotions. Not so they don't exist, but so that we're real and we're human, just like your son demonstrated, but that it also shows that we trust you and that we can take them and lay them before you and knowing that you do not look at them and shame us for having them. But instead, every time in Scripture, somebody got emotional with Jesus, unless they were being self righteous, Lord, it says he had compassion on them. So help us remember your compassion for us, Lord. In Jesus name, amen.
BECKY: Amen.
The Connected Mom Podcast is a weekly podcast that helps moms connect
BECKY: Well, hey, friends, thanks for joining us this week on The Connected Mom Podcast, and we hope that you're going to join us again next Thursday or whenever it's convenient for you. That's the great thing about podcasting. You can go back through the index of podcasts, and you can listen to them when you want. But I hope you're going to join us for another episode of The Connected Mom Podcast, where we'll have another real conversation that'll help you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your kids. Until then, we'll see you later.